A native of Beaune, Maxime Crotet is only two vintages into his solo venture and is already causing quite a stir. He worked his way up from cellar rat to winemaker during his eight years working with Frederic Cossard, a pioneer in the Natural Wine world.
Having chosen the 2021 vintage for launching his boutique natural negociant venture, he soon realized that due to the devastating spring frosts, he would not be finding many grapes in his native region, so he spread the net wider throughout France, succeeding in sourcing Gamay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Poulsard, Trousseau Grenache and Carignan in Alsace, the Jura and Vaucluse. Moving forward, wines from Burgundy will play a much larger role in Maxime’s portfolio due to recently secured long-term contracts.
He controls the harvest of all sources, choosing to pick much earlier than the organic growers would normally expect, thus keeping the harvested grapes fresh and vibrant. All wines are vinified as naturally as possible in his cellars on the main boulevard in Beaune. There are no added yeasts, enzymes or SO2 during fermentation and barrel aging and only minimal doses of SO2 are used, when necessary, at bottling.
Reds undergo whole-cluster fermentation with some use of carbonic maceration where appropriate to lift the fruit aromatics. Vinification takes place in small, mostly stainless vats and barrel aging takes place in mostly neutral oak. Dark color is not a priority, but balance, texture and tension are. White grapes are picked on the early side to ensure that alcohol levels remain well below 14% and are often macerated and/or fermented on their skins. Crotet seeks to elevate the gritty mineral qualities of the grapes while encouraging ripe almost exotic aromatics. Sulfur levels are well within the range of his Natural Wine brethren, where there are no official levels yet agreed upon.
Maxime Crotet’s wines show amazing spark and vibrancy rarely encountered these days. This young winemaker has a deft hand in the cellar and a confident engaging personality that give him a clear voice and direction in the the often disparate group of Natural Wine producers.
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